As the one year mark of the tragic slaying of Nabra Hassanen approaches, local students are coming together to remember the South Lakes High School student.
Hassanen, a Muslim, was killed near the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Sterling.
Family and loved ones will gather on Saturday (April 14) — what would have been Hassanen’s 18th birthday — to package “blessing bags” with items like water bottles, deodorant, food and shampoo. Bags will be distributed to the homeless in D.C., organizers said.
Police believe Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, followed a group of teens as they walked and biked back to the mosque at around 3:40 a.m. during Ramadan, the prescribed month of fasting for Muslims.
Torres later caught up with the group in a parking lot, according to police, and struck Hassanen with a baseball bat before abducting her in his car. He then allegedly assaulted Hassanen a second time before dumping her body in a pond next to his apartment complex.
Organizers hope to preserve Hassanen’s love for charity projects and her caring nature through the initiative.
Afnan Abdelmeguid, a 17-year-old West Springfield High School student and event organizer, said Hassanen was like a sister to her. After meeting Hassanen nearly a decade ago, Abdelmeguid recalls the pair quickly became close friends, spending yearly holidays together and taking part in an annual Islamic spring camp.
In her absence, Abdelmeguid wants to keep her giving nature alive. She also hopes it will help her and the local community heal as the one year anniversary of the high-profile case approaches and as Ramadan begins next month.
Other organizers include Abdelmeguid’s cousins, Shatha and Maysoon Ibrahim.
“She was very kind to everyone and was always smiling. She always cared about our problems and was always there to talk to you when you needed someone to talk to,” Abdelmeguid said.